2014 Winter Olympics: 10 U.S. athletes to watch

  • Hilary Knight

    Ice Hockey player Hilary Knight poses for a portrait during the USOC Media Summit ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on October 2, 2013 in Park City, Utah. (Harry How, Getty Images) Harry How, Getty Images

    On the rink, Hilary Knight has dominated at every level. She won a national title at the University of Wisconsin (where she holds the school record for goals scored). She's also raked in four Women's World Championships (in 2009, Knight led the tournament with seven goals). 

     The only hardware missing? An Olympic gold. At the 2010 Vancouver Games, the American women had to settle for silver, losing the final game to their rival Canada. Knight, who was the youngest member of that team at age 20, says the players haven't forgotten the bitter loss.

    "It wasn’t a great feeling and it's still a feeling that haunts a bunch of us today and it's definitely in the back of our minds that we don’t want to feel that way again," Knight told CBS News.

    The U.S.-Canada rivalry is heated. In an exhibition game in Burlington in October, the two teams engaged in a full-on brawl after the Canadians took issue with a hit to their goalie. Knight was in the middle of another melee when the teams threw punches again in a December game in Grand Forks, N.D.


     In tune-up matches for Sochi, Knight has come through big time against their nemesis. On Dec. 28, Knight won the game with a shootout goal, and in a rematch with Canada two days later, she scored in Team USA’s 3-2 win. Knight expects another intense – and physical game – should the teams meet again in the gold medal round in Sochi.

    "We're extremely physical teams and you'll get the best game out of both of us when we're playing against each other, hands down," she said. "It's heated, your blood boils and you just want to put the other girls through the boards and put the puck in the back of the net and win."

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com